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HOOSER: Nothing to fear except the rabbit hole

Today is a big day in policy and politics. Actually, they don’t get much bigger than this. The president of the United States is being sworn into office, and it’s the opening day of the Hawai‘i Legislature.

Rocked by a global pandemic and political discord not seen since the civil war, the expectations and the needs are high. My hope is that our leaders and our community will rise to the occasion and today will be a day of peace and reflection.

In Honolulu, the Capitol building is essentially shut down, with none of the normal pomp and circumstance. There will be no music, no food, and apparently no speeches. It’s a shame, really. Am a bit surprised there is not at least a virtual opening-day ceremony with remarks presented by the House speaker and Senate president.

At the national level, President Biden is facing a very high bar. He must lead the country through the anger, the angst, the pandemic, and the conspiracy-ridden societal discontent. An impossible task, I think, unless the majority of us who voted for him start talking to our neighbors.

Really, that’s the only way we are going to win. We have to align ourselves in support, and as kindly and as gently as possible inform our friends, neighbors, and relatives — that there is no micro-chip hidden within the vaccine, the mob that stormed the Capitol was not organized by BLM and/or ANTIFA, and that President Biden won the election fair and square. Not a single court nor any state elections office or legislature has concluded there was any significant incidence of fraud that might even come close to impacting the results.

This is job No. 1. We must do our best to convince our once-rational friends that they have been lied to. I am serious here. We cannot keep looking the other way when it comes QAnon or whatever conspiracy du-jour is floating around. The misinformation and disinformation is intentional, the rabbit holes are deep, and the whole thing is dangerous.

Next, we need to explain to all who will listen that supporting the equal and fair treatment of all people regardless of their station in life is not some crazy communist plot. Affordable health care, quality public education, good jobs that pay a living wage and protecting public resources from private exploitation are not radical ideas

Another eminently un-crazy thought is that we must have a tax structure that is fair and equitable. Those who extract more from the public commons, those who waste more, consume more and pollute more, should pay more. And, yes, those who have more should also pay more.

It’s really all pretty tame, mainstream stuff. Certainly, there’s no reason to be afraid and to go charging up the Capitol steps, wearing horns and a fur cape, looking for a hidden socialist. Most of us are right here in plain view.

Talking to our friends, neighbors and co-workers and letting them know there is nothing to be afraid of is critically important. They must understand we’re not going to tax them to death, take away their religion or their 2nd amendment, and their 401k will be just fine.

All we really want is a more just and fair society — for all of us.

Realistically, the way our system of government is set up, there will likely be only small, incremental changes that occur in the foreseeable future. As much as I and others will be working and fighting (metaphorically speaking) for bold systemic change, our system is set up to intentionally slow the process of change. This, of course, is the topic for another day.

For now, let’s move forward together and just continue the conversation. As long as we keep talking, everything will be OK.


Gary Hooser is the former vice-chair of the Democratic Party of Hawai‘i, and served eight years in the state Senate, where he was majority leader. He also served for eight years on the Kaua‘i County Council, and was the former director of the state Office of Environmental Quality Control. He serves presently in a volunteer capacity as board president of the Hawai‘i Alliance for Progressive Action and is executive director of the Pono Hawai‘i Initiative.

  1. Boa Ly January 20, 2021 1:06 am Reply

    Gary, What what degree of ignorance or arrogance makes you think you were not lied to, or that you are not perpetuating the lies?

  2. USAF Brat January 20, 2021 5:40 am Reply

    No worry, We the “once rational” know beyond a shadow of doubt that the Rabbit holes you speak of are prepared. Truth with integrity is going to prevail!

  3. YuCalJoe January 20, 2021 6:59 am Reply

    Nice fairy tale. Reality starts today with putting the nation back on the wrong track.

  4. Dt January 20, 2021 8:28 am Reply

    Some points I can agree with, while others I cannot.

    25% federal tax
    10% state tax
    5% sales tax
    1% property tax
    10% social security
    That is over 50%

    Add on 15% capital gains tax to long term investments. Short term investments are taxed as income.

    What is considered fair share? Let’s explore and compare resource consumption differences? More tax will drive investments and businesses offshore. Same as manufacturing. Then we will be left with no GDP and no income. What will our kids and grandkids work as, servants to the state?

    I would appreciate if someone is going to advise on economic policies that the same person would read a book on economic elasticity. Or take an online course on economy before writing and publishing articles that tow the party’s line.

    1. James Z January 21, 2021 8:15 am Reply

      Jeez, I thought that Trump and choir boy, Paul Ryan, took care of the tax burden on the average American… Not really though as the top 1% are living large(r) than ever be fore while a few crumbs of the cake may it to the rest of us.

      And what about the military/industrial/congressional complex eating up over half of the discretionary income and that doesn’t even count the billions more that are ‘off the books’.

      Taxes aren’t the problem people make it up to be. Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Germany and other nations in Europe tax even higher and the citizens don’t complain and whine about taxes the way Americans do. And they also have a functioning infrastructure, good health care, education, childcare and more. And functioning, dynamic economies. Who’d a thought…

      1. Dt January 21, 2021 6:44 pm Reply

        How many of these countries have you spent time in?

        Talk to the people there, they will not agree with you. I have had many conversations with people in Europe and they all fell the same way. Not one said, if only we could pay more, or the current system is fair.
        In my experience all the people that say “fair share” either pay little or nothing. Anyone that claims they would or could pay more tax, doesn’t. It’s all a show of words. There is a box at the end of your w2 to make a donation.

        We have seen how careful the government is at spending other people’s money.

  5. The Big Kahuna January 20, 2021 9:35 am Reply

    Aloha Gary, the rabbit just climbed out of the hole and America will soon see that it elected the biggest racist in politics. Bidden track record helping minorities is filled with disgust. I am sure you believe its just terrible a Wall was built, yet its ok to block out Americans from Kauai boarder in the name of Covid. Having rules 7 laws is good for all and keeps all Americans safe yet Joe Biden breaks the rules and people like you fail to expose the hypocrisy. Lets not forget Kamala placed hundreds of thousands of black in jail for petty crimes as AG for California. I get many did not care for Trump and many uninformed voters just voted because of the massive media smears. Many people on Kauai fear the economic consequences caused by such hype that has ruined the lives of many small business on Kauai & families that will never recovery and certainly will fail during a Biden economy that is headed straight down. Gary its time for you to go and stop with your blinded views on life.

    Oh and lets not forget his son Hunter who made off with millions of dollars from Russia, China that included Joe as the Big guy who used his office to enrich his own family. Democrates in politics get rich while the middle class and minorities get used every four years to spew hate.

    1. Faron Balantz January 20, 2021 4:49 pm Reply

      Wow BK, thanks for the Fox recap! Kindly turn your spell-check on.

    2. Smiley January 21, 2021 7:08 am Reply


  6. Dt January 20, 2021 7:10 pm Reply

    Where do we draw the line on fair share? 50%, 60%, 70%, 80%, 90%? How about 99%?

    We can tax everyone until they are paid equally, thereby achieving socialism and driving out innovation and capitalism. Then what happens?

    1. Td January 21, 2021 9:20 am Reply

      OK, then what is your number that seems fair? We could drop all taxes to 0%, then what happens?

      1. Dt January 21, 2021 6:40 pm Reply

        I said what I pay. Please write your contribution, and if you would like to pay more and then I will give a reply if I will match that.

      2. Rev Dr Malama January 22, 2021 9:21 am Reply

        Td, anarchy???? That’s the way Kauai has been run for my 67 year old memory….

  7. Smiley January 20, 2021 7:40 pm Reply

    Mr. Hooser, to quote a popular movie I must say that “what you’ve just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.” 🙂

  8. WAVE January 20, 2021 9:04 pm Reply


  9. Malcolm Kirkpatrick January 21, 2021 10:35 am Reply

    1. “Equal and fair” submit to many contradictory interpretations. Does Mr. Hoosier support or oppose affirmative action policies in college admission? Does Mr. Hoosier support or oppose minority set-asides in government contracting? Does DHHL treat all Hawaii citizens equally?
    2. “Health care”. Across industries, competition between service providers improves quality and lowers costs.
    3. “Public education”. In abstract, the education industry is a highly unlikely candidate for necessarily rule-bound State (government, generally) operation.
    4. “Living wage”. Remote bureaucrats are in no position to dictate the terms of trade in labor services between consenting adults. State-mandated price floors (e.g., minimum wage laws), harm low-end selles.
    5. Which resources are or should be “public”?
    6. Progressive tax rates. With a few reasonable assumptions about the marginal utility of money to high-income individuals (e.g., top-tier musicians, top-tier orthopedic surgeons) and the marginal utility to society of their labor, there’s a straightforward welfare-economic case for income tax rates that, beyond some point, fall as income rises.

  10. Rev Dr Malama January 21, 2021 12:45 pm Reply

    Gary please stop….. everything you do only enriches the wealthy and hinders the poor.
    Prove me wrong????

  11. Big Kahuna January 21, 2021 3:39 pm Reply

    Why does this Commie have a voice in our local newspaper?
    Gary Hooser is the former vice-chair of the Communist Party of Hawai‘i, and served eight years in the state Politburo, where he was majority leader. He also served for eight years in the Pyongyang County Council, and was the former director of the state Office of Gun Confiscation. He serves presently in a volunteer capacity as Chief Agitator for Progressive Socialist Action and is executive director of the Enslave Hawai‘i Initiative.

    1. Rev Dr Malama January 22, 2021 9:24 am Reply

      Big Kahuna…. my point exactly! Why is this ok???

      1. Errormethis January 23, 2021 2:49 pm Reply

        Considering your lengthy career in politics, it is no surprise that you would simply dismiss the mountains of election irregularities as either a “hoax, baseless or debunked”. This is not actually a way of addressing anything. Nothing was debunked because the evidence was never presented in an evidentiary way in court. Nothing is a hoax because the evidence is still out there and it needs to be tested and verified. The forensics that have been done in America and in other countries are definitely exposing questionable things about Dominion systems. Any system that can hook up to the internet is vulnerable to tampering, this is reasonable to see and if you deny that no one can help you.
        The more you condem or belittle your neighbors, friends or relatives who have different opinions the more we multiply.
        There is growing awareness that the left treats Christians,conservatives, and/or Republicans in a way that makes our lives bitter with suppression, censorship, double standards and unfair treatment. Yet the left claims themselves to be “more tolerant”.
        We are the ones being censored, deplatformed, and kicked off social media.
        How is this not communist? “Those who extract more from the public commons, those who waste more, consume more and pollute more, should pay more. And, yes, those who have more should also pay more”. This is anti-American rhetoric. I dont see the people who live off of government subsidies paying ANYTHING! They extract the most!

        Trump won this election and it was stolen. The evidence supports it.
        You need to spend more time looking into facts and less time writing crap like this.

        Were is your response Gary?
        I want to see your evidence that there was no voter fraud… and snopes doesn’t count!

        1. Smiley January 25, 2021 10:42 am Reply

          YESSSS!! Love this response! *Applause*

        2. Loladog January 26, 2021 5:46 pm Reply

          Show us your evidence in support of your claim. 60 court decisions found no evidence of voter fraud. That is the evidence that the election was not stolen. What is your favorite flavor of Kool Aide, or do you just drink them all?

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